NEWPORT NEWS-As a government shutdown looms, it's not keeping America's fighting forces from doing their duty.

Nearly two dozen soldiers from Fort Eustis left Monday afternoon for Afghanistan. Most will be assigned to Bagram Airfield and will transport equipment and personnel.

In a message to the forces Monday, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel explained, 'While military personnel around the world would continue to serve in a normal duty status, a large number of civilian employees and contractors would likely be temporarily furloughed.'

He called the situation :an unnecessary and unwelcome distraction from our mission of defending the nation.'

The soldiers are with the 271st Movement Control Team, 53rd Transportation Battalion, 7th Sustainment Brigade.

The Army says elements of the brigade's four battalions and their companies are deployed to support a number of global missions to include Kuwait, Haiti, Iraq and Afghanistan.

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